Tuesday, May 02, 2006

HB 3 Clears Another Hurdle with Senate Vote

If Only Carlos Uresti was already in the Senate! HB 3, the business tax, narrowly passed the second reading in the Senate with an 18-13 vote.

According to Quorum Report the stand out votes include:

Republican Sens. Kevin Eltife (Tyler), Mike Jackson (La Porte) and Kyle Janek (Houston) voted with 10 Democrats against HB 3. Democrat Sens. Ken Armbrister (Victoria) and Frank Madla (San Antonio) voted with the majority.

The Republican Party has now officially become the tax and subsidize party. This is like putting a band aide on an amputee.

Interestingly, Lt. Gov David Dewhurst is happy about the business tax hike, even though not a cent of the $3.4 billion will go to education.

Democrats Elliot Shapleigh and Gonzalo Barrientos attempted to fix education, resolve the issues with property taxes, and create a consensus, but leadership steamrolled the attempts to wait on voting on HB 3.
Sen. Eliot Shapleigh (D-El Paso) questioned the legislation, which he called "the great Texas tax shift," with winners and losers. He claimed the new tax was in essence a business income tax and that poorer Texans would not benefit from swapping the new tax for lower property taxes.

He also complained about how the Republican leadership passed the bill out of committee, bypassing the amendment process. Shapleigh pointed out that amendments were due in at 5 but the Chairman called for a vote at 3.
The real bill to watch is HB 2 to see if ANY money can be dedicated to a teacher pay raise/bonus or at least eliminates the provision that dedicate all future revenue from the taxes in HB 3, 4, and 5.

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